Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger feels new signing Rob Holding is well prepared ahead of his probable debut against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday (14 August). The 20-year-old defender joined the Gunners from Botlon Wanderers over the summer and is likely to make his Premier League bow in the absence of defenders Gabriel, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Wenger is confident the youngster has what it takes to succeed at Arsenal, even though he recognises it is the biggest challenge of his fledgling career. "He has played in the Championship so that is a good experience, to deal with one level higher," Wenger explained, according to The Mirror.
The Arsenal boss reiterated Gabriel will be out for six to eight weeks with an ankle injury, although Wenger revealed he initially feared the defender would be sidelined for longer. "Per Mertesacker is out for four months and Gabriel six to eight weeks, which is a bit better than expected because he doesn't need surgery," Wenger told a pre-match press conference.
"He ruptured his ankle ligament. At the start we thought it could be four months."
In the build-up to the new Premier League season, Wenger has been criticised by some fans for Arsenal's lack of activity in the transfer market. The Gunners have signed Holding, Takuma Asano and Granit Xhaka so far this summer, but Wenger is optimistic about the season ahead, having enjoyed a good pre-season campaign.
"We want to transfer the confidence we got from pre-season to the Premier League. It promises to be a very exciting season," the Arsenal boss reflected.